This year’s “Small Business & Charity of the Year Dinner” is an important opportunity to honor business owners who may have faced concerns in the current economy, said Karen Hall of Ozark Mountain Bank, one of the event’s sponsors.

This is the 11th year for the event which will be held with a reception beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 19, at Buckinghams in the Clarion Hotel at the Palace. The event presented by the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is a way to recognize business owners who provide a significant and consistently positive contribution to the community. This year, an award also will be given in the not-for-profit category, said Director of Membership Services Ladona Johnson.

This year’s theme is “Small Businesses Are The Heartbeat of Branson,” and that’s an accurate sentiment, Hall said. “The sustaining factor for a community of any size is their small businesses. In our community, they are not necessarily those who cater to the tourism business, but to the people who live and breathe and work here, and they know who you are, and they have what you want.”

This is a good year to let those businesses know they are important to this community, Hall said. “People are concerned about where the economy is going and if they will be able to withstand what’s happening,” Hall said.

Not-for-profit agencies also face added challenges this year. Scott Earls, owner of The Vacation Channel, is sponsoring the award for the Charity of the Year.

Reservations for the event featuring a prime rib dinner are due by June 15. Cost is $35 per person, and seating is limited. Contact Ladona Johnson at 417-334-4084, ex. 314 or email [email protected]

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